School of the Announciation - Centre for the New Evanghelism School of the Announciation - Angel Statue
at Buckfast Abbey - Devon

A Benedictine Initiative

Buckfast is well-known for its uniting of spirituality and education, rooted in the Benedictine tradition. Since the Rule of St Benedict first proposed that a monastery be seen as a ‘school for the Lord’s service’, dominici schola servitii, monasteries have responded to the desire for learning - both among members of their own communities and also more widely - by supporting opportunities for a deeper appreciation of the faith in the light of the Lord’s own divine teaching of his people. The School of the Annunciation is the latest in a series of initiatives reaching back to the foundation of the Abbey in 1018.

In his Historical Sketches, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman writes of the Benedictine educational tradition at some length. He draws attention to the Benedictine characteristic of balance and harmony, and in one striking passage evokes the gradual growth of institutions rooted in patterns of prayer and scholarship and in the development of quiet friendships, together with a humble willingness to begin again without complaint, that can still inspire us today.

“St. Benedict…found the world, physical and social, in ruins, and his mission was to restore it in the way, not of science, but of nature,… not professing to do it by any set time or by any rare specific or by any series of strokes, but so quietly, patiently, gradually… Silent men were observed about the country, or discovered in the forest, digging, clearing, and building; and other silent men, not seen, were sitting in the cold cloister, tiring their eyes, and keeping their attention on the stretch, while they painfully deciphered and copied and re-copied the manuscripts which they had saved. There was no one that "contended, or cried out," or drew attention to what was going on; but by degrees the woody swamp became a hermitage, a religious house, a farm, an abbey, a village, a seminary, a school of learning, and a city…

And then, when they had in the course of many years gained their peaceful victories, perhaps some new invader came, and with fire and sword undid their slow and persevering toil in an hour…and nothing was left to them but to begin all over again; but this they did without grudging, so promptly, cheerfully, and tranquilly, as if it were by some law of nature that the restoration came, and they were like the flowers and shrubs and fruit trees which they reared, and which, when ill-treated, do not take vengeance, or remember evil, but give forth fresh branches, leaves, or blossoms, perhaps in greater profusion, and with richer quality, for the very reason that the old were rudely broken off.”

The School of the Annunciation is delighted to be able to participate in the Benedictine charism of education, with its faculty and students sharing in the rhythms of the prayer, life and study of the community.

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